Lucien Levesque and the Schneidawind Band

by Laurel | April 20th, 2010

Lucien Levesque

Lucien Levesque

Meet Lucien Levesque. He was a member of the Schneidawind Band and Orchestra in 1898, when this photo was taken in September of the same year by the Demers studio. On the reverse side, in French, Lucien describes playing a fanfare for the College of St. Anne.

The 1900 Federal Census has Lucien Levesque living with his brother Ernest and family at 420 Maple street in Holyoke. Lucien was born in “English” Canada in August 1874, which makes him age 22 in this photo and he reports his profession as druggist.

Just who was involved with the Schneidawind Band? I was intrigued that a French speaker would be a member of a German band in Holyoke. The name Schneidawind (or Schneidewind, as I have also seen it spelled) seems to be a surname only. On 22 July 1902, there is a bit in the Springfield Republican stating “The Scheneidawind Band held a meeting Sunday and reorganized for the season with some changes in membership. It has not been decided when the first concert will be given. Officers were elected as follows: President: F. J. Hegy; Vice-President, Milton Dawley; director F. J. Schneidawind; Secretary and Manager A. L. Witherell.”

F. J is in all likelihood Frank J. Schneidawind, born 1870, the son of Andrew Schneidawind of South Hadley. Frank was married to Cecelia E. Steinmaker as of 1900 and living with his father, wife, sister and two children on Canal Street in South Hadley while working as a clerk in a grocery store. So music was a second job, not all that different in the world of musicians today.

The Schneidawind Band played at places such as: Father Matthew Society, 1905; Turn and Sing Society, 1902 (repeated encores mentioned); Plumbers’ Union in Holyoke, 1899; Caledonian Hall 1910 (as Prof. F. J. Schneidawind) to name a few.

Unfortunately I was unable to trace the fate of our handsome Lucian in the photo — but you have to love the snazzy band uniform! However, as it happens, Milton Dawley (1876-1942), another band member mentioned above happens to be in my genealogy database and is connected via marriage to Margaret Pratt, someone in my Gow line.

Strange how a simple curiosity can lead to other things.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.


Suggested Holyoke Books

Mountain Park -- The Holyoke destination we all loved.

Mount Holyoke College

Mount Holyoke College, Postcard History by Donna Albino. Many Holyoke women have attended Mount Holyoke. Author also maintains an amazing MHC website based upon her personal collection.

Holyoke - Chicopee, A Perspective

Holyoke-Chicopee: A Perspective, by Ella Merkel DiCarlo. DiCarlo, a former Transcript columnist offers a fascinating compilation of her essays. Published in 1982, this out-of-print book is worth looking for in the aftermarket.


Holyoke, by Craig Della Penna. The first Holyoke book in the Arcadia series, published in 1997.

Belle Skinner Collection

Belle Skinner Collection, by Ruth Isabel Skinner. Published in 1933, this book is long out of print but copies are still available in the aftermarket.

Mitch Epstein: Family Business

Mitch Epstein: Family Business Published in 2003, available in the aftermarket. Epstein's furniture.